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Any good comebacks to this common joke?

toros102

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When I tell non-medical folks that I’m training to be a psychiatrist, a very common response is some variation of “Well I am going to be giving you a lot of my business!” And then, when they learn I’m doing residency in DC, they say something like “there’s a lot of people there that could use your services!” I know they mean well, but all I can come up with is a polite laugh while I try my hardest not to roll my eyes. Does anyone else run into this? I’m sure anyone going into mental health has. How do you handle it?
 

wolfvgang22

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For me, these "jokes" are often just thinly veiled hard truths. People make light of something that actually is sad and hits much closer to home than they would like or that they don't understand and scares them. They are trying to ameliorate their own discomfort and feel some sort of control over their cognitive dissonance. It doesn't bother me, knowing why they say such things, knowing it is actually recognition of the value of our work. Sometimes I offer a referral to a colleague. Most of the time it isn't malicious.
 
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When I tell non-medical folks that I’m training to be a psychiatrist, a very common response is some variation of “Well I am going to be giving you a lot of my business!” And then, when they learn I’m doing residency in DC, they say something like “there’s a lot of people there that could use your services!” I know they mean well, but all I can come up with is a polite laugh while I try my hardest not to roll my eyes. Does anyone else run into this? I’m sure anyone going into mental health has. How do you handle it?
Depending on the situation, I'll say something like:

"I don't take your insurance"

"You can't afford my fees"

"I don't really specialize in erectile dysfunction"

Etc
 
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Psych19

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When I tell non-medical folks that I’m training to be a psychiatrist, a very common response is some variation of “Well I am going to be giving you a lot of my business!” And then, when they learn I’m doing residency in DC, they say something like “there’s a lot of people there that could use your services!” I know they mean well, but all I can come up with is a polite laugh while I try my hardest not to roll my eyes. Does anyone else run into this? I’m sure anyone going into mental health has. How do you handle it?

To the first--"okay"--and if they actually do start asking for help or advice, offer to refer them to a colleague.

To the second--"okay" and a polite smile. This doesn't invite much further conversation on the subject, which is generally my preference.

Also get the occasional
"Are you psychoanalyzing me right now?" -- "Nope" and a polite smile. Bonus if you pause for effect before responding, because then they might think you are psychoanalyzing them.

And also [let me tell you about my family member/friend who has mental illness] -- "yes that must be tough, [insert validation], [insert validation]."
 
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toros102

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I’m not understanding why the OP has an issue with those comments, can someone explain
Another commenter put it best, it’s a lot like when you tell ask your cashier if the item is free because the scanner didn’t work. Something that’s funny the first time you hear it but not the 83rd time...
 
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wolfvgang22

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I’m not understanding why the OP has an issue with those comments, can someone explain
These kind of jokes can sometimes make a person feel like the person joking is trying to belittle whoever is being joked with, even if it isn't intentional. (Sometimes it is intentional, to be fair.) Some people aren't aware psychiatrists are real doctors deserving the same respect of any other physician, or as I implied before, have other personal issues they are dealing with. The uneducated "stigma" against mental health problems can extend not just to patients, but also the treatment team. Everyone wants to feel valued and respected. Should OP have a thicker skin, and the confidence to blow such casually insensitive jokes off? Possibly.
I should also be more confident about my thinning hair, but I'm still sort of sensitive about it, even though people who bring it up usually mean no harm.
 
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oldiebutgoodie1211

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“Well I’m going to be giving you a lot of my business” - I take this to mean that mental illness is prevalent and/or he’s joking that he knows a lot of neurotic people..I don’t see the issue with that.

the Washington residency comment about people there need your help I took to mean that maybe trump needs help as in a political jab? I’m not understanding where the insult is though or where there’s any negative connotation
 
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Roxas

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“Well I’m going to be giving you a lot of my business” - I take this to mean that mental illness is prevalent and/or he’s joking that he knows a lot of neurotic people..I don’t see the issue with that.

the Washington residency comment about people there need your help I took to mean that maybe trump needs help as in a political jab? I’m not understanding where the insult is though or where there’s any negative connotation
It's not so much that it's an insult, but a guarenteed conversation killer which is far more uncomfortable. Same with those types of people who greet you while doing anything outside in the summertime with "hot enough for ya?"

Aside from a weak laugh and "yup..." I don't yet have a good way to play off that back into normal conversation. I think that was more of OP's plight as well.

Frankly I'd rather have someone come up and say they think psych is a sham and Tom Cruise was right all along. At least we have something to talk about at that point.
 
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